Note: This article was first published on 5th June 2019.
I have always maintained that iPads are the best tablets around, period. Insofar as the hardware is concerned, it is hard to fault them. Sure, the bezels on the new iPad Mini are fat and maybe the iPad Air needs a new name because the iPad Pro is thinner. But, in the grand scheme of things, they are fantastic machines.
As I said before, it’s remarkable when you consider that the iPad Pro delivers just about as much performance as a 13-inch MacBook Pro but in a far more compact form factor and without active cooling.
That said, it always felt as if the iPad was being held back by the artificial limitations of iOS. For example, it makes no sense that iPads can’t read and write to external flash storage devices. It makes no sense also that they don’t have better support for multi-tasking and that you can't use a mouse with it. The hardware is obviously capable so why not enable it? Why handicap it?
Happily, iPadOS is Apple’s attempt that addressing these complaints and more. The ability to read and write to external flash storage devices like USB flash drives and SD cards aside, iPads will now also support SMB file shares, have better multi-tasking abilities, more keyboard shortcuts, and even mouse support. In other words, more desktop-like.
The move to separate iPads from iPhones is not at all surprising. Sales of iPhones are not what they used to be and Intel’s manufacturing woes have limited Apple’s Mac business. iPads, on the other hand, enjoyed significant sales growth in the last quarter and this is a move to take advantage of that momentum and also the untapped potential of the iPad.
It goes without saying then that I can't wait to try iPadOS when it comes out in the fall and see how it can augment my work processes. And even though I don't think that iPadOS, in its first iteration at least, will address all of the issues and complaints that users have, it is a step in the right direction and it will be very interesting to see what it holds for the future of iPads.
Specifications are not everything. It's what you do with what you have that matters.